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'The Glee Project': First look at the 'Glee' hopefuls! -- EXCLUSIVE PHOTO

What will the next cast member of Glee look like? Well, he or she looks a little bit like you or me, actually. Right now, there are 12 possibilities of who might be Glee’s newest addition, and EW has the exclusive first look at the Glee wannabes who are hoping to share the screen with Kurt, Rachel, Finn, and the rest of the New Directions in season 3 of the Fox series. The dozen fresh faces – which you can take a gander at after the jump – are competing in Oxygen’s upcoming reality series The Glee Project, which launches June 12 and will select one of the 12 for a seven-episode arc on the show in season 3. Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy has said that if a guy is chosen, the role will likely be a love interest for diva character Mercedes (Amber Riley).

Of course, a series of competitions stand in the way before the final decision will be made. Over 10 episodes, the contestants will be pared down through a series of “homework assignments” orchestrated by the Glee creators that will assess their singing, dancing, and acting. Those from the Glee team who will make the final decision on the winner include Murphy, casting director Robert Ulrich, and choreographer/co-producer Zach Woodlee. The stars of the series will also make appearances as guest mentors in each episode, with Darren Criss (Blaine) showing up in the premiere episode.

“Ultimately, this competition is about inspiring the creators of Glee to write a role for you,” explains exec producer Shauna Minoprio. “That’s never been done before. That’s what makes this whole thing so intriguing. It’s that magical Glee factor, that you’ve got to want them to pick you and write a seven-episode character role for you. The process of how that comes about is absolutely fascinating.”

Check out The Glee Project cast here:

The cast is as follows: First row: Marissa; second row, left to right: McKynleigh, Ellis, Matheus; third row, left to right: Alex, Emily, Lindsay, Hannah, Cameron; and fourth row, left to right: Damian, Bryce, Samuel. Here’s a little bit about each of the contenders:

Marissa, 19
New York, NY
Discovered via: MySpace video
The native New Yorker has been performing in amateaur and professional commercials and shows for more than 12 years. Her style is bohemian and an artist in every sense of the word, as she draws and designs in addition to her singing, acting, and dancing.

McKynleigh, 19
Paducah, KY
Discovered via: Chicago open casting call
McKynleigh has been performing in amateur shows for 13 years, and perhaps surprisingly, her strength is in country music. She has never had the chance to be in a show choir before, because she was home-schooled.

Ellis, 19
Grayslake, IL
Discovered via: Chicago open casting call
Ellis has been performing in amateur shows for four years. Always the outcast in high school, she used her vocal talents and experience in musical theater to find friends and express herself.

Matheus, 20
Atlanta, GA
Discovered via: Dallas/Fort Worth open casting call
The native of Brazil moved to the U.S. eight years ago specifically to consult with doctors about his 4’9” stature. Their eventual conclusion? He’s just short. Just three days after moving here and without knowing any English, he enrolled in school and mastered the language within months. Matheus claims that music has always helped him get through anything difficult.

Alex, 18
Lynn, MA
Discovered via: MySpace video
Performing since he was a toddler, Alex lost his father at the age of 6 – acting and singing has helped him express his emotions since then. Extracurricular activities include church choir, school choir, improv club, and costume design club. Fun fact: Alex has the ability to tackle any lead role – male or female!

Emily, 22
New York, NY
Discovered via: Industry channels
Emily is an 11 year veteran of shows off-Broadway and in Vegas. She attended NYC’s famed LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Art, and prides herself on her training.

Lindsay, 19
Modesto, CA
Discovered via: Industry channels

Lindsay, who’s been performing in amateur shows for 13 years, was deaf for the first six months of her life, which contributes to her great appreciation for being able to hear music.

Hannah, 19
Charlotte, NC
Discovered via: Dallas/Fort Worth open casting call
A six year veteran of amateur shows, Hannah is self-conscious about her weight, but she uses her keen sense of humor and exuberance to overcome any negative feelings about her appearance. In addition to her singing talent, Hannah raps under the alias Ginger G.

Cameron, 21
Fort Worth, TX
Discovered via: Dallas/Fort Worth open casting call
Cameron is a born musician who, up until six months ago, had never taken a single music lesson, even though he’s been performing in shows for four years now. In high school, Cameron was hated by all the guys but loved by all the girls. He grew up loving the Beatles, and they inspire him and influence him as a musician and a performer.

Damian, 18
Derry City, Northern Ireland
Discovered via: Industry channels
Damian tours with the Irish vocal group Celtic Thunder and has been performing with them since age 14, and his secret is that he has a lower voice than most male pop singers.

Bryce, 22
Westlake Village, CA
Discovered via: MySpace video
Bryce has been performing ever since he picked up an acoustic guitar and taught himself to play at age 13. Currently, Bryce attends Berklee College of Music in Boston where he is a voice major. He sings jazz, rap, pop, punk, reggae and gospel and is also an accomplished songwriter.

Samuel, 19
Los Angeles, CA
Discovered via: MySpace video
Samuel, a musician at heart, is not only the lead singer in his band, but he also plays guitar, drums, bass and piano. He’s a hopeless romantic and has a knack for serenading the ladies, often more confident singing to them than actually talking to them.

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

Read more:
Ryan Murphy joins Oxygen’s ‘Glee Project’
‘The Glee Project’ announces upcoming casting calls
‘Glee’ scoop: Kristin Chenoweth returning, Blaine and Kurt going to prom

Originally posted April 29 2011 — 9:00 AM EDT

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